Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, with so many colors of coat. Some have long hair while others have short hair. But did you know there are only a handful of hairless dog breeds?
In fact, there are just 10 hairless dog breeds in this world. And while some are completely hairless, others do have areas with at least some hair.
Let’s explore all the wonderful dogs with no hair and discover why their hairless coats aren’t the only thing unique about them.
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Table of Contents
- All Dogs Without Hair
- Extinct Hairless Dogs
- Taking Care of a Hairless Dog
All Dogs Without Hair
The most famous hairless dogs are the Xoloitzcuintli, Chinese Crested, Hairless Chihuahua, Peruvian Inca Orchid and the American Hairless Terrier.
Other hairless dog breeds include the Ecuadorian Hairless, Argentine Pila, Abyssinian Sand Terrier, Hairless Khala and the Jonangi.
1. American Hairless Terrier
Highlights: Lively, Alert, Friendly
The American Hairless Terrier is one of the few hairless dog breeds that’s recognized by the AKC. Developed in Louisiana in the 70’s, the American Hairless was made for allergy-sensitive owners.
These dogs are Rat Terriers, but hairless. As a matter of fact, they’re a natural variation of the Rat Terrier. Breeding for these dogs didn’t happen until a hairless Rat Terrier was born into a litter in Louisiana.
Though they seem small, they actually grow up to 16 inches in height. Often times, they’ll even have eyebrows and whiskers. Plus, their ears are always V-shaped and erect.
With these dogs, extra care and attention is required. They’re prone to sunburns but also don’t do well in cold climate.
American Hairless Temperament
As for temperaments, they’re very similar to the Rat Terrier (of course). The American Hairless is highly intelligent, curious by nature and very playful.
They’re as lively and energetic as any other terrier breed. On the down side, the American Hairless are known to be a stubborn little dog.
When it comes to obedience training, they need a lot of patience and consistency. This breed won’t do you bidding for the sake of it.
While they play well with children, they can be a little protective of them (and the rest of the family). That being said, the American Hairless is a great watchdog.
Highlights: Loyal, Docile, Vigilant
The Xoloitzcuintli, famously known as the Mexican Hairless Dog, is a hairless dog that’s also recognized by the AKC. In fact, they’re part of the non-sporting dog group.
Like other hairless breeds, the Xoloitzcuintli also comes in a coated variation. But the hairless dog is much more popular and iconic. Coated-dogs have a short and sleek coat.
In addition, there are three size varieties for the Mexican Hairless Dog. These dogs can come in toy, miniature and standard size!
These ancient dogs have very “primitive instincts.” For example, their hunting and social instincts are not like very many dogs.
Because these dogs weren’t “bred” for a certain temperament or task, little modification was made to these dogs.
With that said, the Xoloitzcuintli is a very intelligent dog breed. They can be sensitive at times, but they’re typically lively and energetic dogs.
With strong hunting instincts, they’ll need plenty of socialization to get along with other dogs and small pets. The earlier the better with the Xolo.
3. Peruvian Inca Orchid
Highlights: Dignified, Loving, Devoted
The Peruvian Inca Orchid is a FCI recognized dog breed, originating from Peru. Similar to the Xoloitzcuintli, the Peruvian Inca Orchid comes in three size variations and a coated version as well.
Despite being labeled “hairless,” they’re not completely without hair. As a matter of fact, they’re famous for their mo-hawk style hair. Plus, they have hair on their tails too.
The skin of the Peruvian Inca Orchid can be very sensitive and delicate. In addition, the skin is often a solid color with spots. It really depends on the dog.
They are very good sighthounds, similar to the Greyhound. This means they’re hunting dogs that help their owners spot game or track them down.
Peruvian Inca Orchid Temperament
The Peruvian Incas are great family dogs because they serve as both companions and watchdogs. They’re loving and affectionate with family, but takes a while to warm up to strangers.
Like most sighthounds, these dogs are lively and energetic. Additionally, they’re agile and athletic too! This means they’ll need plenty of physical exercise to keep them from troubling behaviors.
Peruvian Incas are fairly obedient and intelligent dogs. They learn quickly, but physical and mental exercises with lots of repetition will bore them. Switch it up from time to time.
Although these sighthounds get along with other dogs, it’s probably not a good idea to put them in a room with cats or other small pets. The hunting instinct of these dogs is strong and will require heavy socialization.
4. Chinese Crested
Highlights: Loving, Alert, Energetic
To be fair, the Chinese Crested has more hair than all the other “hairless” dogs on this list. Their heads are usually full of hair, maybe even more than some dogs. They’ll also have hair from their feet.
The fur variation is called the “powderpuff” and is a recessive gene. This means you will likely find both hairless and powderpuff Cresties in the same litter.
Because hairless Chinese Crested dogs have sensitive skin, they are prone to many of the same skin issues we experience. Not only can they get sunburns, but also rashes and even acne.
Aside from the coat, there is very little difference between the two coat variations. They have pretty much the same temperament and personality.
Chinese Crested Temperament
These dogs are fun little companions. They were bred to be excellent lap dogs and that’s what they love doing best.
Though the Chinese Crested has a playful side, they’re quite affectionate and loving when it comes to family. They’ll stand by your side no matter what!
Chinese Crested dogs are famously known for being very attentive dogs. For some reason, they’re great at reading emotions and people. It’s why so many owners love them.
However, these dogs are likely to suffer from separation anxiety. If you’re a busy person then the Crestie may not be a good fit.
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5. Ecuadorian Hairless Dog
Highlights: Elegant, Loving, Lively
As the name says it, the Ecuadorian Hairless is a hairless dog originating from the Santa Elena Peninsula in Ecuador. Today, they’re considered to be one of the rarest among all hairless breeds.
They can grow up to 18 inches tall with very little hair. In fact, a small amount of fur can sometimes be found on the top of the head – and that’s it.
What makes this hairless dog even more unique is that they have no premolar teeth. For reference, most dogs have around 16 of these teeth.
Also, the Ecuadorian Hairless is also a descendant of the Peruvian Hairless dog. Makes sense, since the two countries are next to one another.
Ecuadorian Hairless Temperament
Unfortunately, these dogs are so uncommon that there is very little information on the temperament and personality of the Ecuadorian Hairless.
However, we do know that these dogs present themselves in an elegant manner. They run around with grace, much like a Poodle would.
They are lively and energetic dogs and probably require a decent amount of exercise on the daily basis. But we would bet they’d love to lounge around with the family too.
6. Argentine Pila Dog
Highlights: Playful, Affectionate, Cheerful
The Argentine Pila dog is a hairless breed that’s similar to the Hairless Khala in both looks and personality. They’re great companion dogs that come in three size variations.
These dogs can be as small as 10 inches, but as large as 18 inches. The build of their frame resembles a Miniature Pinscher, with a shorter back and an elevated curly tail.
Because of their unique body, they’re very agile dogs that can run, jump and climb with much ease.
There are coated versions that have a fur coat similar to that of a Chinese Crested Powderpuff. However, they were seen as “impure” and were not purposely bred.
Argentine Pila Dog Temperament
The Argentine Pila is a playful and energetic dog that loves to run and have fun. They’re sneaky athletic and they know it too. So, expect them to be all over the place.
These dogs are easy to raise. Not only are they great apartment dogs, but there is little grooming and they’re quite adaptable. The eagerness of the Pila makes them highly obedient dogs too.
Argentine Pilas are also fantastic watchdogs. With a watchdog mindset, they’re curious and cautious around strangers. They’ll bark, but typically they’re non-aggressive.
If you have kids, these dogs make great companions and playmates for them.
7. Hairless Chihuahua
Highlights: Alert, Affectionate, Sassy
The Chihuahua is one of the most popular dog breeds in America. Most have a short single (sometimes double) coat, but did you know that there’s a hairless version too?
There’s often a lot of confusion between a hairless Chihuahua and a Xoloitzcuintli. People will call often call either dogs the Mexican Hairless dog. However, Xolo is the true Mexican Hairless.
Regardless, a Hairless Chihuahua is extremely rare. People don’t breed them to be hairless, rather it’s a genetic defect that occurs far less than with other hairless dogs.
If you get the opportunity to keep or even meet a Hairless Chihuahua, then you’re quite a lucky person!
Hairless Chihuahua Temperament
Temperament and personality between a hairless and coated Chihuahua are the same. The only difference is that a hairless may be more susceptible to skin conditions.
Although one of the smallest breed, Chihuahuas have a big personality. They’re bold, spirited and sassy. Many owners describe them as dogs with “terrier-like” demeanors.
Chihuahuas can be very protective of the family and have strong territorial instincts. If you’ve ever been barked at by a Chihuahua then you know exactly what we mean.
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8. Abyssinian Sand Terrier
Highlights: Fearless, Obedient, Affectionate
This ancient and rare hairless terrier originates from Africa and are not well known on an international level. While some are completely hairless, few have clumps of fine hair on the top of the head and tip of the tail.
The physical trait that makes the Abyssinian unique are the ears that resemble that of a bat’s. They usually come in gray with patches of pink throughout the body. They’re slim dogs too.
The origins of these hairless breeds are unclear, though we do know they originated from Africa. In the past, these dogs were revered because they were thought to have healing powers.
Researchers believe that Abyssinian Sand Terriers were used to develop many hairless dog breeds on this list, including the Chinese Crested. However, there is no official confirmation.
Abyssinian Sand Terrier Temperament
For the most part, Abyssinians are quiet terriers – which isn’t a very terrier-like quality. In fact, owners claim these dogs are born without knowing how to bark. They have to be taught to do so.
Like the Chihuahua, these dogs are fearless and courageous. Being small won’t stop them from defending their family and house. In other words, they make great watchdogs.
Part of the reason why they’re so keen on protecting family is being of their loyalty and affection. They love familiar people and generally do well with kids and other dogs of the same “pack.”
9. Bolivian Hairless Dog
Highlights: Alert, Loyal, Protective
The Bolivian Hairless dog, also called the Hairless Khala, is a rare hairless breed that originate from Bolivia. There are actually two variations of this dog.
The Khala Medio is a small, stubby hairless dog. On the other hand, the Khala Grande is the larger sighthound-type Khala.
They are primitive dogs and not purpose-bred for a certain job or role. It’s quite difficult to find these dogs, even on the South American continent. However, few can be found in Mexico and Central America.
Hairless Khala Temperament
The Hairless Khala has many typical characteristics and qualities of a primitive dog. Though they can grow to love the family, they’re generally standoffish and alert around strangers.
With that said, these dogs need a lot of socialization at an early age. Only then, will these dogs learn to differentiate “good and bad” people.
These dogs require positive reinforcement for obedience training. You’ll need to be firm and consistent, but also gentle with the Khala. By establishing leadership, you’ll have no problems training this breed.
They can appear shy at first, but that’s because try to avoid confrontation. So while they’re decent watchdogs, they’re probably not good guard dogs.
10. Jonangi Dog
Highlights: Spunky, Alert, Devoted
These are the only Indian hairless dog still in existence today. Originating from the Andhra Pradesh State of India, the Jonangi is a skilled multi-purpose dog.
Not only are they formidable hunting dogs, but they’re excellent at herding ducks. Unfortunately, duck farming has been declining in India, leaving many of these dogs “jobless” and abandoned.
In the area, you’ll likely see stray Jonangi dogs. After living on their own, they had to develop new skills, such as effective fishing tactics.
Because they’re now fish-hunting dogs, local farmers weren’t happy and eventually put them on the brink of extinction.
Jonangi dogs are one-person dogs, though they can still thrive in a family setting. They’re famously known to develop a strong attachment to one person of a family.
With these dogs, you’ll need to provide a lot of socialization training early on. They won’t get along with strangers and other dogs without it.
Interestingly enough, Jonangi dogs have the quirky habit of digging large holes. When they’re just relaxing or lounging around, expect them to be hanging out in a large ditch.
However, when they’re working, they’re very active and energetic. They’re known for being agile and lightning fast. With huge long strides, they’ll outrun most animals.
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Extinct Hairless Dogs
Hairless dogs, as you may have guessed, are not nearly as popular as their coated furry counterparts. And when demand for these unique dogs are low, so are suppliers (breeders).
Because of this, many hairless dog breeds have gone extinct. Aside from the Chinese Crested and Hairless Chihuahua, there aren’t any hairless breeds that are considered popular today.
The list of extinct hairless dogs is long. These dogs include the African Elephant dog, African Sand dog, Ceylon Hairless dog and Egyptian Hairless dog (the cousin of the African Sand dog).
In addition, the Guatemalan Hairless dog, Indian Hairless dog (sighthound), Mayan hairless dog, Nubian dog, Small African Greyhound, Thai Hairless Boran dog and Turkish Hairless dog are all extinct too.
Taking Care of a Hairless Dog
Taking care of a hairless dog breed isn’t the same as with a fully coated dog. There are different things to do and to look out for. As the owner, the health and happiness of your dog is in your hands only.
But if you’re planning to bring home a hairless dog, here’s everything you need to know to provide your dog with the proper necessities.
Things to Consider
The first thing that comes to most owners’ mind is the lack of protection of the skin. Unless you plan to dress up your dog every day, there are things you’ll need to be aware of.
Hairless dog breeds are susceptible to all types of skin conditions. They’re able to develop rashes, become sunburnt and even develop acne.
Without fur, there is little insulation on their skin. Hairless breeds need to be protected from extreme temperatures, both cold and hot. They’ll freeze in cold climates, but can’t stay under the harsh sun for long.
These dogs are certainly unique, but they come with a price (figuratively and literally). Most of the extra care and attention will happen with grooming.
Grooming Hairless Dogs
If you think hairless dogs don’t need grooming, you’re completely wrong. Though they may be hypoallergenic, the grooming can sometimes be even more difficult.
Because there’s no fur coat, you’ll need to pay extra attention. Believe it or not, you’ll need to get some sunscreen for your hairless breed.
I recommend investing in some essential oil sunscreen for your dog. Though I’ve never used it, I’ve heard good things about the Gerrard Larriett sunscreen for dogs.
But if you already have children sunscreen at home, that’s also a good choice. Usually, those will be non-toxic.
And since your hairless dog is constantly exposed to the elements of the environment, you’ll need to keep up with regular bathing. Never use a human’s shampoo or condition on your dog, let alone a breed with sensitive skin.
The best choice may be an all-natural oatmeal based shampoo. These type of dog shampoos are very mild and will keep your dog’s pH in balance.
Here are some oatmeal based dog shampoos that I’ve personally tried and love:
- Pro Pet Works All Natural Oatmeal Dog Shampoo – Made in the USA and the one that i’ve been using for years! It’s perfect for a hairless dog and smells great too.
- Earthbath All Natural Dog Shampoo – Having been on the market for so long, this time-tested shampoo is loved by so many owners. I just started trying this out, but so far so good!
Moisturizers are also important for hairless breeds. However, you can purchase one that’s also a sunscreen!
Just make sure you look for moisturizers that are “comedogenic.” They won’t cover your dog’s pores, and will prevent acne and blackheads.
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